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Xiaomi Redmi 3 Review : Benchmarks, Camera Samples, the Verdict

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Earlier we have informed you about the upcoming Xiaomi Redmi 3. This time the official announcement has been made! It features a massive 4100mAh battery and gorgeous diamond-patterned metal frame. The new comer packs a 5? display, Snapdragon 616, 2GB of RAM and 13MP rear camera with 5MP front snapper.

Measuring 139.3 x 69.6 x 8.5mm it weighs 144g. Running on MIUI 7.1 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop OS the Redmi 3 offers support for dual-SIM functionality as well as 5V/2A fast charging. Besides having 16GB of internal storage the phone supports microSD card upto 128GB.

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We at XiaomiToday got our hands on one of the units, so let’s unbox the phone and test it’s performance, and finally decide weather you should purchase it or not.

That’s not to say it is a great experience out of the box for every user, which is largely down to the fact that Xiaomi phones don’t come preinstalled with Google apps and much of the language in the preinstalled software is Chinese. But these things are easy to tweak, and we had our Xiaomi Redmi 3 up and running as we would any other Android phone within minutes.

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The user experience we received with the Xiaomi Redmi 3 is what we were hoping for with the Xiaomi Mi 4C. Unlike that phone, the software hadn’t been altered before the Redmi 3 was shipped to us, and so we got exactly the experience Xiaomi intended.

As we mentioned, Xiaomi doesn’t officially sell its phones in the except for a few parts of the world, but you can buy them from third-party suppliers such as GearBest. To buy this phone from GearBest today you’ll pay $160 USD from the regular price of $199.99 if you use our link below the review.

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One of the things to watch out for when buying a phone from China is that it is supported by your network. In many parts of the world, the Xiaomi Redmi Redmi 3 operates on only the 4G LTE bands 3 and 7, which means band 20 (or the 800MHz) frequency used by O2 and piggyback networks such as giffgaff is not supported. Should your network be supported, however, the Redmi 3 offers 4G connectivity on both of its dual-SIM slots (this is a dual-standby phone that accepts two Micro-SIM cards).

Other connectivity options are excellent, too, covering the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS, although there’s no NFC.

As Xiaomi’s first all-metal Redmi Redmi, the 3 is a gorgeous in its gold incarnation (also available in silver and dark grey) with a sandblasted smooth outer shell and 5-in HD display. The 13Mp camera with flash is placed on the back. Around the front you get a 5Mp selfie camera.

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Despite being a budget smartphone, the Xiaomi Redmi 3 has some capable hardware inside, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 615, a Adreno 405 GPU and a huge 4100mAh battery. Even the 2GB of RAM was capable of raw processing performance faster than that of every phone we’ve tested in this price range, although it fell down somewhat in our graphics tests.

The MIUI 7 Android 5 Lollipop-based OS is well regarded in China, if not ideally suited to other users out of the box. As we’ve said it’s quite possible to change this setup, but it’s perhaps not something novice Android users would be comfortable in doing. But that’s all that would stop us thoroughly recommending the Redmi 3 as one of the best budget Android phones money can buy. Let’s find out why.

Design and Build

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Wow. That’s what every single member of the XiaomiToday editorial team said when we took the Xiaomi Redmi 3 out of its box. We’ve been waiting to get our hands on a Xiaomi phone for ages, and following the disappointment that was the Mi 4C the Redmi 3 had a lot of making up to do. Fortunately, it didn’t let us down.

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While the Redmi 3 has some of the markings of a budget Android phone – it’s on the chunky side at 8.65mm (although this is more impressive than it is disappointing given the huge 4000mAh battery inside), plus there’s the rear-mounted speaker and now outdated Micro-USB port – it looks good enough to take on the iPhone in the design stakes. It’s certainly the best-looking budget Android we’ve ever seen.

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Despite housing both a large 5-in screen and a high-capacity battery (apparently achieved using a 690Wh/L high-density cell), this Xiaomi phablet feels fantastic in the hand. It’s reassuringly weighty without being heavy at 164g (only 4g more than the plastic Redmi 2), and rounded edges on the rear make it feel smaller than it is. On occasion you might want to use it in both hands, but we didn’t have trouble reaching to the far corner of the screen with a thumb when required. As with the Mi 4C there’s also an easily accessible one-handed mode that lets you shrink down the contents of the screen to 4.5-, 4- or even 3.5in.

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The fingerprint scanner mounted on the rear is perfectly positioned in terms of how you hold your phone. Usefully, it can wake and unlock the screen with a single touch, and Xiaomi’s claims of it recognising your fingerprint in 0.3 seconds rang true in our tests.

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The gold metal shell is sandblasted to a smooth-to-the-touch but matte-effect finish. This contrasts nicely with the shiny polished edging seen around the screen, fingerprint scanner, camera and flash, and even the shiny Mi logo on the rear. It really is a premium-looking smartphone.

 

A full-HD screen is still not something you can reasonably expect to find in a smartphone of this price, and at 5-in the 1280*720 resolution equates to a crystal clear 403ppi. The screen is bright and with realistic colours and great viewing angles, making the Redmi 3 an ideal mobile device on which to enjoy video. To get exactly the display you want you can switch between warm, standard and cool screen colours, and choose between standard, automatic and increased contrast. The Redmi 3 also supports Sunlight display, making it easier to view in direct sunlight, plus a Reading mode.

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We mentioned that the speaker is also rear-facing, which is usually a no-no, but a small protrusion below raises the phone ever so slightly from a flat surface such as a desk and allows sound to escape. With the exception of this bump all components lie flush with the case, including the 13Mp camera – we’re not overly keen on the way many of today’s flagship phones have protruding rear cameras, although it is necessary given their ever-smaller dimensions. (While the Xiaomi is no size-zero handset, it’s on the small side for a phablet at just 150x76x8.65mm.)

Although the Xiaomi’s bezels are slim, a thin black border is evident around the edge of the screen; we quite like the effect it creates. In the Settings menu you can change the wallpaper and themes, text size and font.

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Ports and connectors are where you would expect to find them, with a metal power button and volume rocker on the Redmi 3’s right edge, and a pin-operated slot-loading dual-SIM tray on the left (this accepts two Micro-SIMs, and both can connect to 4G). There’s a headphone jack at the top of the Xiaomi Redmi 3, and a Micro-USB charging port on the bottom.

Also here are options to change the colour of the LED for notifications, calls and texts, and the long-press function of each of the three Android-standard buttons below the screen.

Hardware and Performance

For a budget smartphone the Redmi 3 has some very decent hardware, and even the 2GB of RAM version turned in very good performance in our benchmarks. Everything seems fast on this phone, which will be partly down to the software, and partly the hardware.

The Xiaomi supports Performance and Balanced operation modes; we ran it in Performance mode for the sake of our benchmarks, although Balanced will provide longer runtime. Even so, we got a good two days use out of the Redmi 3 in Performance mode.

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Xiaomi has specified a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM. There’s also 16GB of internal storage (but no support for microSD so you might prefer the 32GB option), and a huge-capacity 4000mAh non-removable battery that is charged over Micro-USB.

In AnTuTu, which is also used to measure overall performance, the Redmi 3’s 33,109 points ranked lower in comparison to other high-end Android smartphones, but are nonetheless very impressive for a phone at this price point.

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The Xiaomi’s most-impressive performance results in our benchmarks came in Geekbench 3.0, which is used to measure overall processing performance.

That’s also true of the SunSpider measurement of 907ms (tested in Chrome) – not the best we’ve seen but brilliant for a budget Android.

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In GFXBench 3, used to test graphics, the Xiaomi began to show it wasn’t quite in the same class as the flagships but, again, scores of 22fps in T-Rex and 8fps in Manhattan are very good for the money you are paying for this powerful smartphone.

Camera Performance

Like just about every other budget Chinese phone we’ve seen the Xiaomi Redmi 3 is fitted with a 13Mp, f/2.2 rear camera and 5Mp, f/2.0 front camera. There’s a two-tone flash on the back, plus a selection of modes and real-time filters. All of which are features which might not be used by everyone everyday, but are still there just in case.

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As you’d expect at this price point detail is a little soft at full-size, and we found colours to be very warm, but the overall result is quite acceptable and certainly better than what we saw from the Mi 4C – you don’t get the same odd banding effect here. Which is a really nice addition considering that was a glaring problem for Xiaomi to fix right away.

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It’s worth pointing out that there are options in the camera settings to adjust contrast, saturation and sharpness, and you can use the volume button to trigger the shutter. However, the Redmi 3 doesn’t feature the Edge Tap function found in the Mi 4C.

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You can see our test photos of St Pancras on what was a very cold and blustery day in both auto and HDR mode below.

Verdict

I believe that after reading the article, many users will come to a conclusion same as me: Xiaomi Redmi 3 redefines the new standard in 2016 entry smartphones.

Whether from the configuration or system, Xiaomi Redmi 3 in this price range have no obvious shortcomings, especially with 4100mAh capacity battery, the capacity has now exceeded many flagship smartphones from major mainstream manufacturers.

In addition, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor, although in general, but the 2GB memory ensures MIUI 7.1 runs smoothly and meet the needs of everyday applications is no problem at 720p resolution most of the games to run smoothly again without any problems.

The Xiaomi Redmi Redmi 3 may not be best suited to most users out of the box, but with some simple setup tweaks it is an excellent budget Android phone with a fantastic design and performance for the price.

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Manu

Manu, perhaps best known by his YouTube alter ego ManoharOfficial, has a love for technology that can never be quenched, no matter how hard he tries.

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15 Comments

  1. Hi, I’m on the original stable ROM and I can’t find the toggle or even the options to turn on Performance Mode. Where is it? This phones performance is really starting to annoy me, full of hiccups and takes ages to multi-task.. Very disappointing, I was expecting at least a similar performance to my RD2 16gb and it’s not even close, way worse

  2. dude……wtf…..why are you using copy and paste ,utilizing info from the redmi note 3,some people actually read this review and deserve some decent information

  3. I bought one and can only say it is great and worth looking at… mine has 3GB Ram and 32GB Internal memory – it runs everythng at a good pace and came with an English GUi but some Chinese apps which are easy to disable. It runs two sims, GPS, bluetooth and WIFI easily for two days… fantastic value!

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